National President Brittany Thornton (Alpha Kappa) has unveiled the President’s Project for the 2021-2022 academic year – Erasing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Watch her video announcement and read the text below.

Every single one of you is selfish by design. We’re all inherently selfish to protect our self-interest in order to survive. And it’s precisely because of this trait that we have the golden rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated.” In a perfect world, when we treat others the way we treat ourselves, everyone wins. 

When healthcare providers treat every patient the way they would care for themselves, each individual receives the highest level of care and attention. Typically, this is easy to do for providers. A patient comes to see them, they see themselves or their loved ones in them, and care for them accordingly. Unfortunately, when providers have patients who don’t look like them, this rule can easily fall to the wayside, and quality of care diminishes quickly. 

When I first began my midwifery training, one of the most important aspects of my personal care philosophy was ensuring that all persons received unbiased, respectful, quality care. I quickly came to realize that this was not the status quo. I directly witnessed patients being treated differently, receiving poor quality of care or being talked negatively about simply because of their race, ethnicity, social status, or sexuality and gender identity. 

Did you know that half of white medical students believe Black or African-American persons have thicker skin or less nerve and needs resulting in them feeling less pain? Would you be surprised to hear that 40% of Hispanics don’t obtain proper medical care due to language and cultural barriers? Are you aware that the U.S. Is the only industrialized country with a continually rising maternal mortality rate? And that rate is four times higher in persons of color?

The term “health disparities” is often defined as a difference in which disadvantaged social groups, such as the poor, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and other groups who persistently experience social disadvantage or discrimination, systemically experience worse health or greater risks than more advantaged social groups.

Look around at your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. If racial and ethnic health disparities don’t directly impact you, you’re likely only one person away from someone it does directly affect. Take the time to ask those around you about their personal experiences within our healthcare system. And don’t just hear their stories, but listen, hold space for them and share on their burden as their friend, neighbor and fellow human.

Each of you joined Omega Phi Alpha to be a part of an organization that focuses on service and affecting change for humankind. You were drawn in by your desire to help make some part of the world a better place. The conversations that we’re having in this very moment are shaping our tomorrow on an individual, organizational and global level. Learning more about these disparities can be a way of lessening these kinds of inequalities. And I know that you aren’t content to remain blind to these issues and allowing these stories from people to go untold.

As Omega Phi Alpha members, we ask questions, we engage others, and we live out our core values.

My hope is that by raising awareness together, starting right on your campuses and in your communities where the caregivers, politicians, and leaders of the future are being formed, we can create a culture of change. A culture of acknowledgement for the stories of the people that affects. A culture of upending disparities that have been carried through for generations. A culture of using our privilege to push back against the broken system and making waves of change.

Erasing racial and ethnic health disparities is not an easy task to undertake, and it won’t happen overnight. But even waves start with ripples. Arrange a racial and ethnic bias recognition training on your campus. Write letters to your legislators, addressing how racial and ethnic disparities are not only morally wrong, but fiscally irresponsible. And they stress our health infrastructure. Volunteer or donate supplies to a local health clinic for underserved populations. Sponsor a midwife or a medical student of color.


For many, it will be an improvement in their quality of life and care. For some, it will mean the difference between life and death.

So join me this year, sisters, in the Omega Phi Alpha President’s project, Erasing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.


To sponsor a midwife of color, contact Brittany’s office to get put in touch with a midwife of color that needs assistance:
Lunaria Birth & Wellness
To find a health clinic that serves underserved populations, you can search the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics.